All posts filed under: top 10 village beauties

Besalú – Medieval charm

The back country of the Costa Brava is filled with treasures. Where overcrowded cities and beaches take a back seat, the focus is on rural tranquility and medieval beauty. In quiet, car-free old towns with beautiful, lovingly restored buildings, you start a journey into another time.
Destination: The most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. One of them – Besalú.

Besalú - Pyrenees

The beauty of the Costa Brava, right in front of you!

Enchanted by Besalú

Starting point of our little journey through Besalú: The gigantic, perfectly restored bridge Pont Vell. The view of the beautiful bridge, its two majestic towers, the river Fluvià, the picturesque old town with numerous medieval stone houses and the foothills of the Pyrenees is simply overwhelming. Nobody can resist here: Taking pictures of this view is a must!

Besalu - old town - medieval

Impressive, isn’t it?

Back to the past

Unleashed from everyday life, we enter a place far away from stress and worries. Small, narrow streets lead to the village square, the Plaça Llibertat with lively little restaurants and cafés. The Monastery of Sant Pere leaves you very stunned. Our thoughts wander far into the past. Our next stop: the Church of Sant Vicente – also an impressive Romanesque building.

 

Definitely a highlight

In the former Jewish quarter, a very special highlight awaits us: a Jewish ritual bath. Only four of these species have survived across Europe – Wow! You cannot miss that. Such a magical place ..

A perfect walk..

A true masterpiece – Besalú

From the bank of the river Fluvià, we enjoy the unique view of the majestic bridge and the medieval work of art Besalú for the last time. While listening to the lapping of the river, we feel the passing time and the history surrounding this magical place.

 

 

 

Idyll Made of Stone – Peratallada

The back country of the Costa Brava, not far away from Girona, is cut from a very different cloth. Here, you can find the most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. These seem to send you into another time, if it weren’t for the tourists running around with the latest camera technology.

       

Peratallada – is one of those magical places full of history! Hardly any other village surprises with such an authentic, medieval charm.

Peratallada - stone houses - Costa Brava

Beautiful stone houses to discover in Peratallada …

Peratallada – “carved stone”

Peratallada — derived from “pedra tallada”, meaning “carved stone” — lives up to its name. Surrounded by a moat and a gigantic fortification wall, the place carries a medieval charm and rural silence hidden behind stone walls.

       

Far from the crowded beaches

The streets, the towers, the houses, the archways, even the church and the castle – everything is made out of natural stone and has been renovated with lots of love in the past few years. Numerous coffee bars, restaurants and hotels create a friendly atmosphere far away from the crowded beaches. Some small boutiques with souvenirs, ceramic and clothes tempt you to go shopping.

shops - peratallada - costa brava

Welcoming shops in the centre

Majestic church Sant Esteve

Having left the village over the fortress bridge after a relaxing walk through the shaded alleys, you’ll see another medieval jewel: The gigantic Roman church Sant Esteve, dating back to the 13th century, majestically rises just outside the doors of the village and forms a popular photo scene.

Church - Peratallada - medieval village

Beautiful, gigantic church Sant Esteve

Time to pay a visit to Peratallada!

Peratallada is on the toplist of the 10 most beautiful villages of Catalonia and is definitely worth visiting …

Traditionelles Dorfhaus

The road to silence – excursion

On an early morning in April, we hit the road to silence. You can find it only a few kilometres away from the beaches of the Cost Brava, in the small medieval villages of the Empordà area. There, time passes slower.

Less speed is more

In an old Mercedes we make our way through wide meadows and olive groves and even pass a grazing flock of sheep. Above us, the blue infinity of the southern sky. Today’s motto: less speed is more: more impression, more experience, more enjoyment. Always online, always available – today we are not. The world turns faster every day, times of peace are rare. Therefore, it’s important to discover silence in a new way. Deceleration is today’s programme. Yesterday, breathless through space and time. Today, we walk slowly, intentionally, through the quiet alleys, deserted landscapes and spend the siesta between ancient walls of romantic, medieval places.

Alley with archway

The nice spring sun is playing tricks with light and shade.

Idyllic country life

One of these places on our journey is Vulpellac. Here, you can find a stone castle, built between the 13th and 16th century, looking over the crooked roofs of the houses. The church connected to the castle was once the castle’s chapel. We admire tendrils and huge lemon trees. A cat scurries through an archway.The small alleys around the castle absorb us and the sunlight for one moment, and then release us a few minutes later. The village is covered in silence. An old friendly man greets us. We don’t remain unnoticed. At this time of year there are no foreigners here. Immediately we get exposed as foreign tourists and people are observing us. Whether our camera is able to capture the magic of this place? Better if you look for yourself.

Ancient building

Castle of Vulpellac, dating back to the 13th century.

Let’s keep unwinding

Not far away, you can find the place Canapost with its beautiful Romanesque church, dedicated to Saint Steven. From here, we go to Peratallada. This village is considered a jewel and is visited by many people during summer. Also today, we are not alone in this village surrounded by walls, impressing with traditional medieval structure. At the car park, we still don’t have to pay a charge and we easily find a place between the few hired cars of the first tourists. Peratallada is dominated by its castle and the Romanesque church Sant Esteve. We stroll through the crooked alleys and delightful squares. In the old town centre you can find many small restaurants, located in charmingly renovated historic stone houses. Almost all of the boutiques and small shops are still closed right now. We find a free table on one of the terraces between the arcades of the Plaça de Les Voltes. It’s time for some tapas and a glass of cold white wine. Relaxed, we are looking at the square. A nervous dog moves back and forth, hoping for a dropped down bite. Unfortunately, he has bad luck, as his owner calls him back. The owner from one of the restaurants in front of us is looking desperately for some guests. So far, only a few people came here for having lunch. When the season starts, they will fight for free tables. But today, the locals still enjoy the slowness. Also, our waiter is very relaxed and serves his few guests on the sun-drenched terrace without any stress. We wanted deceleration, so don’t complain and keep unwinding. The moment is wonderful and the day still has a lot to offer.

Café Peratallada

Sitting in a restaurant, we enjoy the view over the lovely square.

Back to reality

After another walk through the town, we decide to visit Pals. Here, we are back in commercialism. A few coaches just have parked in front of the medieval place. If we hurry, we might can get rid of the tourist masses. But then, deceleration and peace is over. The one way or the other. Nevertheless, a look a the Medes Islands and a short round through the picturesque village is a must. Finally, we are lucky and find a small hidden café, away from the hustle and bustle, where we finish our trip with a café con leche. Slowly, the sky turns pink and the sun disappears behind the mountains on the horizon. It’s time to go back into reality. Hopefully, there will be time for more moments of deceleration.

View over Pals

One last view, then it’s time to go back to real life.

 

View of Capmany.

Top 10 village beauties

The Costa Brava – even tourist guides now devote to this rugged beauty, the numerous pretty villages and cultural diversity of the region. We now pay some attention to the less classic tourist attractions and collocated ten of the prettiest villages on the Costa Brava. In addition to the most famous pearl – Cadaqués – there are many more that need to be discovered. Ten “village beauties” you should have seen…

Garriguella

Garriguella-Girona-kirche-wine

Garriguella is a dreamy nest, which invites it‘s visitors to linger. The little church based in a green park, the stony walls of the houses, overgrown with flowers and the pale silhouette of the pyrenees fill the place with medieval flair and you wait for a horse buggy, coming across the street. 850 people live in this little treasure chest. Bird‘s nests are sticking to the balconys, the smell of freshmade bread fills the air in front of the bakery and you can enjoy your beer either in the restaurant or in the bar.Anyway the colorful houses exude a welcoming and bright atmosphere – some of them are built in colonial style and remind of endless summerdays in Cuba. A  eyecatcher of the village is the charming antique shop, where you can improve your bargain skills.

Vilajuïga

Charming house in Vilajuiga

Vilajuïga is mostly known for its culinary treasures, but it‘s also a charming, little village in the middle of the gentle hills of the Pyrenees.The good wine as well as Vilajuïgas tasty spring water made the place famous, but although there are always a few visitors here, it‘s surrounded by a pleasant silence. Palmtrees and blooming rhododendrons line the streets and the mixture of old stone houses and colorful facades create an interesting oriental atmosphere. Small and cozy cafés are scattered along the roadside. It‘s the perfect place to escape from everyday life without relinguishing a bit of urban character. There is a school, a pharmacy and various shops, including a fish store, and neither Figueres nor the picturesque coast or the French border are more than a stone’s throw away.

Sant Climent

The Rambla of Sant Climent.

Sant Climent is probably the only spot, which has an own Rambla despite of its small population of 560 inhabitants. You‘re going to be surprised, when you walk towards the charming heart of the village and suddenly come across the spacious square, which is surrounded by green trees. People sit on the shady banks, the windows of the stone houses are decorated with blooming flowers and there‘s a little park with a playground behind the monumental church.When you wander trough the narrow, old streets, you can heart the ghosts of the past whisper. Sant Climent warmly welcomes its visitors – there are several spas, cozy bars and restaurants and a pharmacy. The butcher and the bakery also lure you with fresh bread and all sorts of regional specialties. The next town and the beautiful coastline are only a few minutes away.

Mollet de Perelada

Mollet de Perelada is a charming little place.

Mollet de Perelada is an eyecatcher – even if the place is really tiny, you can already see it‘s spire from far away, when you find yourself surrounded by green vineyards and fig trees on the road.A sleepy silence covers the place with it‘s 180 inhabitants and you instantly want to linger in the narrow streets. The walls are overgrown, stony lions look down from the streetcorners, bird‘s nests stick to the balkonys, the houses are decorated with colorful flower boxes and the blooming rosebushes in the idyllic park exude a rural charme. You don‘t have to share this romantic atmosphere with anybody, but it‘s a huge benefit that such a place is within a stone‘s throw of the bigger cities and the beautiful Costa Brava.

Rabós d’Empordà

Die wunderschöne Kirche von Rabós.

The way into the little village Rabós, which has only 200 inhabitants, already forces you to look out of the window – the road winds past vineyards, olive trees and cactus bushes and the place sticks to the slopes of the Pyrenees like a bird‘s nest. The mountains watch over the idyllic spot like a mother over her children. The entrance is already impressive – plants climb up the stony facades, lemon trees bloom on the streets and the old barns create a medival atmosphere, which reminds of past times. It is the perfect place for nature lovers who want to escape the chaos of the big city, without being to far away from civilization. Visitors can be accommodated in the lovable guesthouses, the restaurant allures with its cozy atmosphere and neither the next town nor the spectacular coastline are more than a stone‘s throw away. Another eye-catcher of Rabós is the small river which crosses the valley.

Pau

The heart of Pau.

Pau provokes romantic feelings – it nuzzles up against the green hills of the pyrenees and can‘t get rid of it‘s nostalgic character, which is composed by the ravishingly beautiful church and the old frame houses. Palmtrees and oleanders line the streets, geraniums bloom between the bricks, the buildings are decorated with flower baskets. It‘s a peaceful place, where you can enjoy the silence in charming little cafés and restaurants. Even though Pau is quite small with it‘s 570 inhabitants, nothing is missing – there‘s a doctor, a pharmacy, a school and several corner shops. And if you want a bit of hustle and bustle, it‘s only a short hop to Figueres and the sunny coast.

Palau Saverdera

Monumental building in Palau.

Small but mighty – Palau Saverdera, a charming spot surrounded by green highland and guarded by the beautiful pyrenees, is almost as interesting as some of the bigger coastal towns of the Costa Brava.You can gaze at an old olive squeezer and the balcony of Empordá, a memorial for the victims of the civil war, at the entrance of the village, besides Palau is the proud owner of a museum. Anyway the centerpiece of the mountain village is the Spring of Dalt: a drinking water fountain, whichs spends crystal clear water to inhabitants and visitors. But there are not only cultural treasures waiting to be discovered, the view of the mountain idyll and the ocean, which is only 15 minutes away,  is just as well spectacular. The walls of the old stone houses are overgrown by blooming roses, people sit on their wrought – iron balconys and enjoy the scenery, regional delicacys are served in the shady gardens of the restaurants. Only the monumental church and the orotund town hall are contrary to the simple classiness of the old houses and narrow streets. Nothing forces you to leave this place – apart of a school, a bank, a hairdresser and a hotel are also several corner shops, a butchery and a pharmacy in Palau – Saverdera.

Espolla

The heart of the village.

The sleepy village Espolla seems to be a place of an old fairytale book – surrounded by wide cornfields, olivetrees and vineyards, you feel like entering a castle, as soon as you walk trough the narrow streets, passing stonehouses and a fountain. A pleasant silence welcomes you when you reach the monumental church – you feel instantly snug and happy. Blooming flowers decorate the walls, the tiny park invites you to take a break, crickets chirps in the trees and if you wish for some company, you can spend the evening in the café or bar. Vinelovers can also discover some treats in the  village – based vinery. Altough Espolla is a tiny with it‘s 400 inhabitants, nothing is missing – there‘s a corner shop, several restaurants and guest houses and neither the next bigger city nor the beautiful coast are far away.

Capmany

View of Capmany.

Capmany hustles to convice the visitors of it‘s beauty before they even get there – the street curls past green vineyards and olivetrees and the mountains look down on it like mightful kings.When you finally get there, you can enjoy a spectacular view over the roofs of the scattered stonehouses on the pale silhouette of the pyrenees. If you‘re still not certain, that this place is more than charming, betake yourself into the nested, narrow streets, where roses bloom at the wayside and cocks crow at the barnyards. There‘s also a little bridge, which is built over the river. It‘s a mix of rural romantic and medieval flair, which is significant for Capmany. With it‘s 620 inhabitants and the establishment of the Olivenda Grup, every person, who loves silence and good wine becomes happy here.

Begur

lamp

Perhaps the most popular town’s landmark are defense towers which are up to twelve metre. They were originally built in the Middle Ages. Obviously, the centre of Begur has been spruced up for tourism through the years. But it didn’t decrease the historical character of the village. While nowadays the more exclusive tourism is dominating the economic, locals form the past primarily lived by the sale of corals. Later it was cork.  After the cork industry collapsed many locals were forced to displace their lives to South America. By coming into economic wealth they decided to come back to Spain. The so called „Indianos“ influenced the contemporary architecture in Begur by building mansions in a colonial caribbean style. “Casas de Indianos“ are already decorating the cityscape. Once in Begur you should make the effort and climb up the castle hill. The fantastic view up to the point of the coast recovers all damages. The most obvious advantage of Begur is its perfect position. Surrounded by numerous hills – Massís de Begur – and a long coastal path it is a comfortable location above the Cap de Begur and Cap sa Sal.